David Davis the Secretary of State for Brexit has today unveiled a government white paper on Brexit.
The paper outlines the governments 12 principles required for a successful exit from the European Union.
The move comes just twenty-four hours after the Government’s successful vote to adopt the European Union (notification of withdrawal) bill.
— House of Commons (@HouseofCommons) 2 February 2017
Mr Davis said that the UK’s “best days are still to come”, outside the EU.
Key points from the white paper include:
- Trade: The government has reasserted its position that the UK UK will withdraw from the single market, with the eventual aim of seeking a new customs arrangement and a free trade agreement with the EU.
- Immigration: A new system to control EU migration into the UK will be introduced, and could be phased in to give businesses vital time to prepare for the new rules.
- British citizens living abroad and EU citizens living in the UK: The paper confirms that the government wishes to secure an agreement with the EU to guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the UK and those Britons living in Europe.
- Sovereignty: Under the proposed plan, Britain will exit from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice but seek to set up its own legal framework to cover things like trade disputes and employment legislation.
- Border: The government are aiming for “as seamless and frictionless a border as possible between Northern Ireland and Ireland.”
- Devolution: As more powers come back to the UK from the EU in the negotiating process, the government have confirmed that it will look to give more powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is a move that it hopes will placate the predominantly remainer nations.
- Security: The document confirms that the UK will seek to continue working with the EU “to preserve UK and European security and to fight terrorism and uphold justice across Europe”. This will include remaining in Interpol, the European Arrest Warrant and cross border information sharing initiatives.
The white paper says the government aims to deliver “a smooth, mutually beneficial exit” but says this will require “a coherent and coordinated approach on both sides”.
The paper also reasserts the governments commitment that Article 50 will be triggered no later than the end of March.
Labour have criticised the white paper, saying that it “means nothing” and argued that it had been produced too late for meaningful scrutiny.
The criticism of the timing of the paper was echoed by leading Scottish National Party MP Steven Gethins who took to twitter to voice his disapproval.
— Stephen Gethins MP (@StephenGethins) 2 February 2017
The white paper will now pass to the committee stage of becoming a law, which allows for amendments to be made before it passes to the House of Lords for an upper chamber vote.